Magic Bars, Seven-Layer Bars, Hello Dolly Bars....
This cookie/candy hybrid has been a favorite of mine for many years. A graham cracker crust topped with any combination of semi-sweet, milk chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter or white chocolate morsels, nuts, and coconut, drizzled with sweetened condensed milk and baked into ooey, gooey perfection.
I was browsing through my kitchen cupboard, wondering what version I would make this year, when inspiration struck. How about a holiday version, with some cranberries and a little spice? And here's what I came up with.....
I thought about starting with a ginger cookie crumb base, but opted to go half ginger thins and half graham cracker, as the ginger thins I had were pretty spicy. Not that that's a bad thing - using just the cookies would have worked out fine, too. In fact, next time I think I'll do just that!
I started out with about a sleeve of graham crackers and a package of Anna's Ginger Thins, and tossed them into the food processor.
(Note: The meager amount of calories saved by omitting the sugar is, shall we say, negligible. Well, you'll see what I mean....)
Here's the fun part - you get to pick what you want to add to your bars. I used 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, White Chocolate Chips (you'll want about 2 1/2 cups total, whatever combination you decide on), about 3/4 cup dried cranberries, about 2 tsp. minced candied ginger, 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans and about 1/2 cup shredded coconut. I should have tossed in some dried apricots, but I forgot!
Let cool completely.
Seriously, you'll have an ooey-gooey mess if you try to cut these before they're set. But when they are cool to the touch, you can go ahead and cut with a sharp knife, loosening up the sides first.
Very sweet, but a nice candy-like addition to my cookie platters! Hope my friends and family enjoy them - I think they will!
As for me? I'm craving a nice green salad with a light vinaigrette for some strange reason! ;)
Holiday Magic Bars
(Feel free to play around with measurements - this is a great "clean out the pantry" recipe)
2 cups graham cracker/ginger cookie crumbs
3 tbsp. butter, melted
2 1/2 cups chocolate and white chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tsp. minced candied ginger
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9" x 9" inch baking dish.
Combine crumbs and butter, and press into bottom of baking dish.
Sprinkle with chocolate/white chocolate morsels, cranberries, ginger, nuts and coconut.
Drizzle with sweetened condensed milk
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool completely and cut into squares with a sharp knife.